Airport Authority of India (AAI) has commenced work upgrading taxiways and part of the apron area at India’s Chennai International Airport.

The move is part of AAI’s plan to enable the airport to handle larger aircraft on its international routes.

The project will mainly focus on strengthening the oldest taxiways, which have been used for many years.

AAI plans to use the refurbished taxiways and apron to pushback small and narrow domestic aircraft such as B737s and A320s.

AAI is also constructing an integrated terminal at the airport, which will be situated between the domestic and international terminals.

This new terminal is expected to become operational by September next year. AAI then plans to move all international operations to the new terminal.

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Code E aircraft, which has a wingspan of more than 52m but less than 65m, will also be moved in front of the new terminal.

The Times of India quoted an AAI senior official saying: “These are old taxiways that have been in use for a long time. They need refurbishing. Since relaying is being done, they are being upgraded to handle the load of bigger planes.

“Two or three taxiways to which planes are now being pushed back for taxiing to the runway cannot handle Code E planes.”

AAI aims to complete the work with no disruption to the airport’s day-to-day operations.

Earlier this week, reports emerged that AAI is planning to monetise 759 acres of land near eight major Indian airports.

Last year, AAI announced plans to develop airports in other countries.